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WATCH: Imogen McCluskey’s New Series, ‘Soundtrack to Our Teenage Zombie Apocalypse’ is out now on ABC

Music, friendship and zombies collide in AFTRS alum Imogen McCluskey’s new series, Soundtrack To Our Teenage Zombie Apocalypse, which has just launched on ABC.

Directed by McCluskey (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017), who worked with creators and executive producers Mary-Ellen Mullane and Lyndal Mebberson, the very meta ten-part series follows four music-obsessed teens who are on a mission to win the annual triple j Unearthed High contest, only to find themselves trapped in the ABC building during a zombie apocalypse.

Currently undertaking a Directing fellowship with the American Film Institute Conservatory program—which boasts alumni including Andrea Arnold, David Lynch, Patty Jenkins, Ari Aster and more—McCluskey briefly landed back on home soil to film the ten-episode series, before returning to Los Angeles to continue her studies.



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Several AFTRS graduates worked on the series, including cinematographer Lucca Barone-Peters (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017), composers/music producers Damien Lane (Graduate Diploma in Screen Music, 2011)and Jodi Phillis (Graduate Certificate in Screen Music, 2013), second assistant director Emily Mitchell (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2021), first assistant camera Tahira Donahue-Bales (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2018), second assistant camera Christine Anderson (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2018) and lighting director Trudi Gultom (Diploma in Camera, 2017).

Filmed almost entirely in the ABC Ultimo building, the series stars newcomers Mina-Siale, Nick Annas, Ruby Archer and Isaiah Galloway and unpacks the experience of COVID lockdown and the conflicting, challenging emotions many have felt over the last few years. It’s a story about complex friendships, resilience, and empowerment through creativity during uncertain times, mixed with the thrills and chills of a zombie classic.

The action-packed episodes are underscored by a soundtrack of local favourites and emerging acts alike, including Ruby Fields and Beddy Rays and, fittingly, music from previous Unearthed High winners including Teenage Joans (who won in 2020) and The Rions (2021).

Speaking with Inside Film about the new series, McCluskey said, “It’s this epic, coming-of-age, action, zombie, comedy, music show that has all of these different tones. As a director, that was such a task to try and create a cohesive world and tone with all these different things going on, and bring it back to these really interesting characters”.

Amid her packed schedule, McCluskey has also recently led projects like Tinder’s TikTok series Love Songs and two seasons of Love Bug, an Australian Writers Guild-nominated web series about heartbreak during the pandemic filmed mostly in self-isolation (featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, FilmInk and more). You might also recognise McCluskey as the director of Suburban Wildlife, her feature debut which was voted runner-up in Sydney Film Festival’s Audience Awards after having its Australian premiere to sold-out crowds in 2019.

McCluskey also has several other projects in the works, working on a romantic comedy with fellow alum Alexei Toliopoulos, along with ’90s comedy-of-age, Dial Up, and an adaptation of her short film Atomic Love into a television series.

The first five episodes of Soundtrack to Our Teenage Zombie Apocalypse are now streaming on ABC iview, and broadcast weeknights at 6:30 pm on ABC ME. The next five episodes will be available from 6.30 pm (AEST) Monday 22 August. Watch now.